The best way to welcome 2015 is to rock up to a live gig, says Ian Massey
The start of 2015 gives music lovers a chance to ease themselves back into the live scene. In much the same way that we shake off the excesses of Christmas and the New Year and head reluctantly back to work, there is a low-key feel to what’s on in York this month.
In fact, at time of writing, four venues have no gigs listed at all. So if bigger touring names at the Barbican or Grand Opera House, eclectic stuff at the National Centre For Early Music or free gigs at the Spread Eagle are your thing, you might want to try looking elsewhere until gigs start again at those venues.
While the touring bands relax after Christmas there is a wide range of local talent on show across the city.
Junk kick things off at The Basement on the 9th. The trio’s jangly alternative pop is being featured in the first Basement Sessions gig of the year and can be experienced for £5. At time of writing, support bands have yet to be named.
Also for £5 you can hear five styles of metal at Fibbers on the 12th. Much like York’s own Bohica, Metal Massacre are aiming to put on regular events featuring underground metal and punk bands.
Three of the bands are local – you can hear sludge metal from Mooseknuckle, death metal from Deathmace and thrash from Forsaken – and they share the stage with Lancaster’s Insurgency and Sunderland’s Risen Prophecy.
At The Duchess on the 14th, you are promised an “arsenal of different sounds”. Headlining are Leeds based Paris XY, whose dark electronica and pre-recorded soundscapes has seen them play sell-out shows across mainland Europe.
Hull will be well represented by DJ Kev La Kat and indie-rockers Young Jack. Support will be in the form of psychedelia from La Petite Mort and the upbeat indie pop of Bull, both from York. Once again, tickets are £5.
Also on the 14th, Behind The White Door present their first gig of the year at the Fulford Arms. York’s lo-fi indie pop/punkers Sherbet Flies headline, with support from Leeds in the form of grungers Negative Panda along with El Luchador and Grolar Bear – two bands that I can’t find any details about. Intriguing… This gig is free entry.
I know Jonny Gill from his solo acoustic work, but he also provides vocals for pop-punk band On The Ropes and they are launching their debut EP, Home, at The Basement on the 16th.
Support comes in the form of more pop-punk from Selby’s Lyon Estates and Leeds based Pray For Hayden, as well as local acoustic singer/songwriter Chris Laycock. Tickets are £4 and there is a distinct possibility that this gig will sell out.
Fibbers plays hosts to The Rodeo Falls on the 23rd. A strange band in that they take two genres that aren’t usually my cup of tea – Brit-pop and Merseybeat – and combine them with a bit of rock and roll into something that I can’t help but like.
The set is likely to include upbeat songs named after Iron Man’s girlfriend or about the Sixties music scene as well as a much gentler one about cosmonaut conspiracies and will definitely be entertaining. The bargain price of £5 gets you into my gig of the month.
There will be more metal at Fibbers on the 24th, when York’s Hellbound Hearts, playing the second of four gigs in four days, kick off 2015 with a clean slate after what has been described as a “testing” 2014.
At The Duchess on the 30th, four local acts perform on behalf of The Prince’s Trust, although I can find very little detail of what that actually means. Tickets are £5 and you will be able to hear Push, young singer /songwriter Phoebe Marshall, folk-rockers The Wood Wars and the “tenacious riffs” and “polluted melodies” of Dos Cervesas.
Finally for the confirmed gigs, and also on the 30th, you can hear the funk/pop of Barcode Zebra at The Basement as they play their first York gig of 2015. Tickets are £4 in advance or £5 on the door.
I am led to believe that Toby Burras will be celebrating ten years of Unfinished Drawings at The Duchess on the 25th, but there is currently nothing showing on the venue’s website.
If it does go ahead, this gig will be well-worth attending. Not only is Toby a phenomenal songwriter and guitarist but he is likely to bring together some superb young local musicians in support.
From further afield
With so few gigs taking place this month, I’m just going to lump the rest into one section.
With New Year’s Day being a Thursday, the Black Swan Folk Club starts its 2015 events on the 8th with a visit from Ireland’s Kieran Halpin (£10).
French-born Flossie Malavialle appears to have fallen into the British folk scene almost by accident when teaching French over here. She loved it so much that she decided to stay.
Now celebrating ten years of being based in the UK she plays the same venue, for the same ticket price, on the 15th. Her “delightfully wicked sense of stage fun” sounds interesting.
Allan Taylor rounds off the club’s programme for January with a performance on the 29th. (£10)
And that just leaves four gigs to round up.
Brooklyn based Dawn Landes brings her blend of folk-rock/ pop to Fibbers on the 13th (£10) while Sarah Jane Morris, perhaps best known for her vocal contributions to many Communards tracks, brings soul, jazz and R&B to the same venue on the 16th (£10).
If you fancy a tribute act with a difference, head to Fibbers (again) on the 21st when you can see all-girl New Yorkers Lez Zeppelin cover the more famous band.
In 2008 the girls headlined the opening night of the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee in front of a 20,000 strong crowd, mainly due to a media mistake that led many to believe that the original band were playing… (£13).
Finally, fellow Americans, although this time from the deep South of Mississippi, The Weeks bring their grunge-powered, high-octane rock and roll sound to The Duchess on the 28th (£8 adv/ £10 otd)
A final word
As ever, all the above is correct at time of writing and any mistakes in the details are my own (although I take no responsibility for any cancellations).
There is every chance that more gigs will be announced at these venues as the month goes on, and there are always the free gigs (often covers bands but increasingly originals) in the city’s pubs and bars, as well as the various open mic nights held around the city.
If I have missed anything you think is worth seeing, leave a comment below.